Will Fall Break Remain a Four Day Weekend?

For the first time, students are able to enjoy a two day fall break, just six weeks into the semester. 

Marcie Licker, sophomore said, “It was just really nice to have those couple of extra days relaxing at home, rather than be forced off campus for just a weekend, after our classes.”

A break like this is possible to happen again, but there are a few terms that have to be met.

“We can’t have a four day fall break every calendar year, but on the years where the calendar allows us the flexibility to have that fourth day I would say we should have four days,” said Vice President of Student Services, Mary Ann Nagy.

President of Student Government Association, Oscar Sanchez, felt the four day break was much better than just having Friday off plus the weekend.

“I think having two days off came at the perfect time,” said Sanchez.  “It makes much more sense than just having one day because then people feel like they’re just moving out for a weekend.”

The University has a very unique calendar situation, so a four day break is not possible every year. “Unlike other Universities, we can’t begin until after labor day because about 1,000 undergrads live in off-campus apartments, houses, and condos and most don’t get into those places until Labor Day,” Nagy said. “If we started classes the week before, how would you go to class for a week without a place to live if you weren’t within a commuting distance?”

According to Nagy, if Labor Day fell anywhere between September 1 to 4, then a four day break is possible. If it fell on September 6 or later, then fall break can only be three days and not four. September 5 is sort of the middle ground and could either be a three day or four day break.

Although many students enjoyed having a four day break, a few felt it would have been nice to have the break and for the resident halls to remain open.

“I think it’s a nice break from classes, but I wish it was just a day or two with no class where you could still stay on campus,” said sophomore Kyle Walter.

Nagy explained the reason for students having to leave campus was to break a pattern. “To date 15 students have been transported to the hospital because of overuse of alcohol to the point where they were medically compromised and that’s not good,” Nagy said. “It is dangerously close to us having lost a student or two.”

According to Nagy, the break is meant for people to be able to go home for a couple of days, catch up on sleep, and come back for another six weeks until it is time for Thanksgiving break.

“We think it helps to break some of those patterns a little bit because you get to go home for a couple days to catch up on sleep and come back and go for another six weeks and have another break,” Nagy said.

If students were unable to go home over this break, they were permitted to fill out paper work requesting to remain on campus. Nagy said no one who turned in paperwork before the deadline was declined. The reason the system is this way is because the administration thinks it is good for students to go home and take a break.

For those who remained behind, the University was able to accommodate meals for residential students on Thursday, Friday and Saturday. The dining hall was open for breakfast and lunch between 10 am and 2 pm and for dinner between 4 pm and 7 pm and the hours returned to normal on Sunday.

Nagy added that it is thanks to this break that the University is able to do extra, especially in terms of dining. “By not having to feed 1,600 people for four days and only a couple of hundred we can get extra things like late night breakfast, where anybody is welcome to walk in the door and eat,” Nagy said.

This year’s spring commencement is later in May, but this is not because of the added day to fall break. Nagy said it is due to the Martin Luther King holiday falling on January 21 this year. The federal government says in order for a semester to count and for students to get federal financial aid, loans etc., and the semester has to encompass 15 weeks. This year, 15 weeks from January 21 is the week of May 22, which is why graduation is later than usual.

The administration is constantly discussing issues like this and it will soon be determined if there will indeed be another four day fall break next year. “This is only the second year and a task force was just announced to look at the academic calendar and schedule and the break will be part of the conversation,” Nagy said. “If it works and they decide they want to keep it, that’s great and if they want to go back to no break, then that’s fine with me, too.”